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Going to the beach? Keep your eyes peeled for washed up turtle hatchlings

5 April 2021 10:32 AM
Tags:
Two Oceans Aquarium
Renee Leeuwner
Sea turtles
Struisbaai
weekend breakfast
Loggerhead Turtle
Cape beaches
Turtle Rescue
turtle hatchlings
turtle rehabilitation

The Two Oceans Aquarium is worried about the low number of hatchlings being rescued, possibly due to less people on W Cape beaches

Loggerhead turtles nest on beaches in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Every year hatchlings are washed up on Western Cape beaches as they're carried south by the Agulhas current.

This is due to injury, dehydration or hypothermia, says Cape Town's Two Oceans Aquarium.

It's worried that a low number of baby turtles have been rescued since March, when they normally start being found.

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Remember these hatchlings are small. They're about 26 grams and upward... the size of your palm.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

If they get pushed into the cold water they get hypothermia and eventually the current and the wind pushes them out onto the beaches.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

So far this year, only three or four hatchlings have been brought into the Aquarium says Communications and Media Executive Renée Leeuwner.

They normally average about 20-30, some years even up to 260.

The Two Oceans Aquarium has rehabilitated and released 600 turtles - that's 600 more opportunities for the survival of the species says Leeuwner.

There are seven sea turtle species across the world and all of those are either endangered or critically endangered... Every single turtle you can save and put back into the environment is a boost for the population.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

We can only do that with people who are enthusiastic and caring, and who are on the beach and see these turtles and then bring them to us.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

Our biggest influx normally comes from around Struisbaai... but we also get a lot all the way down to Muizenberg... even Mouille Point... They go where the current takes them.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

If you do come across a turtle hatchling, it's important not to put it back in the water.

They would be the size of your palm... If they're still alive, they would be lifting their heads to breathe.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

It needs veterinary care and rehabilitation, because if it's on our beaches it's been in the cold water... Keep it dry... If it's small enough keep it in a container with air holes and then get hold of the Aquarium... You can put a dry towel in there.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

Not in sand, because the sand will be cold... You give it air to breathe, you keep it out of the sun. Keep it at room temperature out of the wind... in the dark keeps them calm.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

Only one baby turtle has been brought in so far this Easter weekend.

If the turtles don't get washed up that's great, but we suspect it's actually the lack of people on the beaches at this stage. Easter weekend is normally quite a busy beach weekend and it's a time when we use to get a lot of turtles in for rehabilitation.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

We do know that most of the turtles that come into rehabilitation all have ingested plastic, so there's a worry around that.

Renée Leeuwner, Communications and Media Executive - Two Oceans Aquarium

If you do find a sea turtle hatchling, phone 021 418 3823 to find out where the nearest network point is or take it to the Aquarium.

You can visit aquariumfoundation.org.za for step by step instructions on what to do.

Listen to the interview with Leeuwner in the audio below:




5 April 2021 10:32 AM
Tags:
Two Oceans Aquarium
Renee Leeuwner
Sea turtles
Struisbaai
weekend breakfast
Loggerhead Turtle
Cape beaches
Turtle Rescue
turtle hatchlings
turtle rehabilitation

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